S. Korea’s venture investment grows

SEOUL    -   South Korea’s venture investment grew in single digits in the first quarter due to strong investment demand for future technologies, government data showed Monday. New investment in startup companies and small businesses with long-term growth potential amounted to 1.9 trillion won (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) in the January-March period, up 6 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. Venture funds created in the first quarter stood at 2.4 trillion won (1.8 billion dollars), up 42 percent compared with the same quarter of last year. For the past five years, the venture investment and the venture funds formation recorded an annual average growth of 6 percent and 23 percent each during the first quarter. Investment demand stayed solid for 10 future technologies, such as artificial intelligence, system semiconductor, robot, mobility, network, aerospace, eco-friendly technology, quantum technology, biomedicine and next-generation nuclear reactor, the ministry noted. The proportion of investment in the 10 technologies by venture capital companies accounted for 40 percent of the total at the end of March, up from 31 percent three months earlier.

The ministry expected the venture investment to keep growing this year, but it cautioned that uncertainty remained over the prolongation of high interest rates and the sluggish stock market.

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